Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Technology that traced Osama bin Laden now used to extend life of cakes

Hyperspectral imaging to be employed to study deterioration of sponges and cupcakes and prolong their shelf life.

Victoria Sponge Cake. Image shot 2008. Exact date unknown. 
 
A Victoria sponge. Researchers are aiming to plot the deterioration of a cake and formulate a recipe with the best fat, sugar and liquid proportions for taste and shelf life. Photograph: Keith Leighton/Alamy.
 
It took 10 years and an elite unit from America's navy seals to hunt down Osama bin Laden. Now the technology used to track the most elusive terrorist in history is at the centre of another top mission to help to enhance the life of cakes in British bakeries.

Strathclyde University has been awarded a grant to examine how the imaging used on the helicopters that surrounded Bin Laden's Pakistan compound in 2011 might be used to perfect cupcakes, Victoria sponges and a host of other staples of the British diet.

They are working with a British food company, Lightbody, to try to accurately plot the deterioration of a cake and formulate a recipe with the best fat, sugar and liquid proportions for taste and shelf life.

"With hyperspectral imaging, you can tell the chemical content of a cake just by taking a photo of it. That allows the baker to optimise the process for shelf life and taste. It tells you what's going on, how the sugars are breaking down, how the fats are breaking down. If bakers can get the formula right, they can extend the shelf life and sell their cakes further afield," said Stephen Marshall, professor of image processing at the university.

For the rest of the story: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2013/jun/17/bin-laden-hunt-technology-used-in-cakes?CMP=twt_gu

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